• Post published:May 23, 2017
Salmon Enhancement Program Sooke
Dan Kukat on location in Sooke




Chinook Salmon Initiative in Sooke

Scientific studies conclude that the single biggest risk to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales  is the lack of food, namely Chinook Salmon.

SpringTide’s  5% FOR THE FISH initiative addresses exactly that, ensuring the sustainability of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales by providing access to more of their preferred prey species, the Chinook Salmon.

Our Chinook enhancement project has begun with 220,000 Wild Chinook Salmon Smolts being assisted in their natural life cycle during a robust feeding and protection program prior to their release to the open ocean.  This process results in providing the best of conditions Mother Nature has to offer, all of the time, during the early formative months – releasing the healthiest and most robust salmon nature can produce.

Because the Sooke River Chinook are extirpated, we utilized the closest genetic strain, the Nitinat River Chinook.  These wild fish were hand caught in the spawning stream last fall, the milt and roe harvested, eggs fertilized resulting in many times the fertilization rate possible in nature even under the best of conditions. These eggs and alevin were kept in the best of spawning environments and then the Smolt stage fish transferred via truck and then pipe over the docks to our Marine Protective Enclosure for final rearing and feeding before release. They are protected during the exhaustive metamorphic transformation from fresh to salt water while they bulk up to give them a head start on life. They will be released in stages over 2 nights, under the protective cover of darkness while their main predators – seals – are hauled out on shore and birds are roosting. This will be timed with a high slack tide, so the ensuing ebb tide can assist them on their journey to the open ocean. Here the density of predators is less and they are spread over a larger area ensuring the greatest number possible survive. Natural fertilization rates are less than 5%, but utilizing this method they are over 99%. Natural ocean survival rates often average less than 1% . It is expected that ocean survival rates of these fish will be well in excess of 5%.

This project is unique in Canada as it is the first fisheries project of its kind to be completed entirely with private funds and private management.  It has the support of the T’Souke First Nation and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada and the Pacific Whale Watch Association.

This project is spearheaded by:

  1. South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition B. Chris Bos C. Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society D. SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours E. Dan Kukat

Financial support is provided by:

  1. South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition
  2. Pacific Salmon Foundation
  3. SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours and their customers
  4. Trotac Marine Supply 5. other local businesses.

Fund raising efforts continue in order to pay for an additional project (possibly as soon as next month) and to expand to 2,”000,000 Smolts in 3 years in the existing location. Additional locations that benefit the Southern Resident Killer Whales are also being pursued.

To donate or help please go to:




Chris Bos:   Chris@anglerscoalition.com

778-426-4141 or 778-967-2363

Dan Kukat:  Info@SpringTideCharters.com

250-384-4444 or 800-470-3474

Or go to SpringTide’s Office at:

1119 Wharf Street, Victoria BC

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